Federal U.S. food safety surveillance data in recent years shows significant progress by the poultry and red meat industries in reducing foodborne pathogens. Nonetheless, the rates of human illness persist, notes Doug Smith, Ph.D., director of Food Safety at Diamond V.
The Foodborne Diseases Active Surveillance Network operated by U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has been tracking trends for human infections transmitted through food for nearly 20 years. Salmonella, Campylobacter, and Escherichia coli have been frequently associated with consumption of animal protein products. Often these bacteria have been cited among the top five pathogens causing foodborne illness in the U.S.
"Despite progress against pathogenic E. coli," Dr. Smith says, "the level of Salmonella infections have been constant for nearly a decade and Campylobacter infections have been on the rise."
This ongoing challenge is part of the impetus for new federal feed and food production regulations stemming from passage of the U.S. Food Safety and Modernization Act.
“In order to lower the risk of human illness,” Dr. Smith says, “companies producing foods of animal origin must implement effective pre-harvest food safety programs.”
Producing a safe, sustainable, and affordable food supply, says Don McIntyre, Ph.D., Diamond V director of North American Poultry Research and Technical Service, means strengthening each link in the food supply chain—from farm to fork.
Dr. McIntyre notes, "Abstracts and posters, at the 2016 International Poultry Scientific Forum, report research focused on human pathogens that occur in poultry during production as well as on the effects of production challenges like heat and crowding stress."
A number of the investigators involved in pre-harvest food safety research will be on-hand at the Diamond V Booth A429 at the International Production and Processing Expo, Jan. 26-28. For research details, go to the Abstract Book.